Regional call for higher minimum wage reaches Presidential agenda

Regional call for higher minimum wage reaches Presidential agenda

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 12:43 AM

SEATTLE -- Acknowledging a rising wage disparity across the United States, President Barack Obama called for the federal minimum wage to be increased from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. 

He used the forum of his State of the Union address to plead his case, while declaring his intention to use executive powers to make a similar increase for new federal contract workers.

"The cold, hard fact is even in the midst of recovery, more Americans are working hard just to get by, let alone to get ahead," the President said.

"Join the rest of the country," he implored Congress, "Say yes.  Give America a raise."

The President's call for an increased minimum wage was greeted with muted optimism in Seattle, where Mayor Ed Murray and Councilwoman Kshama Sawant have pushed for a $15 wage.

Sawant was pleased the President indicated he wanted to raise the federal minimum, but added "$10.10 for the next three years...is not a ticket out of poverty for working families."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) gave the Republican response to the State of the Union, claiming "the President made more promises that sound good, but won't actually solve the problems facing America."

Democrats tout the plan to raise the minimum wage will help around 500,000 federal workers.  It likely would not take effect for at least two years, and could face legal challenges.

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